As the six of us Drake students toured Mukono Hospital with an administrator, it was apparent hospitals in the United States were much different from those in Uganda. In comparison to other hospitals in the surrounding area, Mukono Hospital’s sanitation and conditions are considered to be average. The various wards were separated into different sections throughout the hospital, but the wards were filled with openness with many beds separated only with a curtain that did not provide privacy. Despite this, many of the patients were happy to be receiving the care from these educated professionals along with the quality level of sanitation that was present. Because of the high population in the area, it was unexpected to see there were empty beds throughout. I thought it was surprising to see how many services the hospital provided for the community: dental, oncology, maternity, radiology, and general care just to name a few.
One of the main goals of the hospital is to save lives and treat all of the patients who come regardless of their economic state. Because of this policy, patients receive the care needed and then pay upon discharge. If one is unable to pay for their treatment, they are let go without debt. This allows everyone to take advantage of the healthcare provided which enables a more sustainable community. It’s heartwarming that Mukono has valued saving lives over the cost of treatments.
With this idea of providing care to everyone, the challenge of funding is visible. Roughly 60% of their funding comes from patient payments. To meet the demands of some of the patients, the hospital is in the middle of building a second level onto a building which will provide private rooms at an additional cost. In addition, many of their prescription drugs and equipment come from neighboring Joint Medical Stores and donations. Their HIV/AIDS drugs are administered through the government after receiving them from the CDC. To help with costs, the hospital does not provide food, water and bedding. This allows the hospital to allocate more of their funds to improving their sanitation and technology to provide more services for the community which will continue to improve the health of the community, leading to a more sustainable country.